Happy Nurses Week

May 5-12, 2021

Photo on Pexels.com
Photo on Pexels.com

This week is Nurses Week and, I want to take this time to commend my colleagues and friends for a job well done. During this year nurses have been in the trenches of the pandemic, providing care to those who where the sickest among us. We are always present and have been the most ethical and trusted profession for over 20 years.

Pandemic or not nurses are the constant workforce in healthcare and sadly we are the most disrespected by various parties that utilize and work in that system. Just like the violence that went on at the Capital, January 6, 2021, that many are denying, there is also violence that occurs in healthcare facilities, that the public knows nothing about. As a result a bill was created and passed in the House of Representatives.

This bill remains in the US Congress, sitting in the Senate. The “Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309)” was passed in the House of Representatives, November 21, 2019. It was sent to the Senate and is still there, never passed. Apparently it is not a priority.

Currently, there are so many other things that are going on in the country, that I wonder if this bill will ever become a law.

Support and thank your nurse, dealing with the public is challenging. We take our jobs seriously and aim to provide safe quality care. We also advocate for patients where ever they are in their challenge to maintain health and wellness. We do this by adhering to high ethical standards and being the support for patients and families when they enter the healthcare system.

I am proud to be to a part of this profession and I realized it may not be my dream job. However, as a nurse surveyor, I am here to ensure that those who enter healthcare facilities receive safe quality care and healthcare facilities exceed and meet public expectations.

To my peers and colleagues enjoy the week, you definitely deserve all the accolades and words of appreciation. Check out the link below, there are many freebies for nurses this week! Enjoy!

Take time and notify your Congress person about HR 1309. Thank-you!

https://nurse.org/articles/free-nurse-week-giveaways/

Just keeping you informed!

Managing Diabetes

Diabetes is a worldwide health issue and affects every system in the body. Your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol must be managed. In fact, diabetic patients are treated as cardiac patients because of the nature of the disease.

Self-care is essential with diabetes. It is important to watch your diet. Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, and reduce your intake of high-calorie foods and fast foods.

Self-care also includes foot care. Do not cut your toe nails and always wear shoes. Little cuts on your feet can lead to an amputation.

Physical activity is also important to ensure you maintain a healthy weight. Take your medication and check your blood sugar.

The complications of diabetes include heart disease, poor circulation, loss of limbs, blindness, and loss of kidney function resulting in dialysis.

As you drive through the city count how many dialysis centers are in your neighborhood. They seem to be on every corner. Not all dialysis patients have diabetes, but majority of them do. That is why it is essential to manage your health.

When your physician tells you that your A1C is elevated, make the decision to do something about it. This disease can be managed but you must be disciplined and follow your health professionals instructions.

Stay well!

Reference

Managing Diabetes. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes

Eye’s Have It!

As we age our vision is not as sharp as it was when we were young. I believe computer usage has caused much of the issues with my eyes. Since working at home and utilizing the computer at longer intervals than when I actually was in the office, I find my vision is not as crisp as it once was.

My optometrist recommends you look away from the computer a least every 20 minutes or so to gaze at something in the distance to reduce eye strain. Blue light has become recognized as an issue for our eyes. Scientists state the blue light from electronics is linked to problems like blurry vision, eyestrain, dry eye, macular degeneration, and cataracts. I bought special reading glasses to assist with that issue, and also wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun.

I wonder when I see young children watching movies and cartoons on an iPad or phone how will their vision be affected? Parents are using this technology to entertain the youngest of us.

You may see more children wearing glasses in the future. This remains to be seen. With computers and phones affecting the adult eyes, I can only imagine what is happening to our children.

Reference

Heiting, G. (2021). Blue light facts: How blue light affects your eyes. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/blue-light.htm

Redlining and Health

Did you know your ZIP code determines your health status? Where you live affects your likelihood of life expectancy, if you breathing clean air or develop a chronic disease.

Redlining was outlawed through the Fair Housing Act of 1968 with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, but the evidence of this practice is still present. Look at any city map and you can see this practice in full view.

“The power of the maps was to make discriminatory practices visible and provide a verb for the practice of denying loans to certain areas of our cities — an act we now know as “redlining” (Rogers, 2016).

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During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration created the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, which not only bailed homeowners out of loans they couldn’t afford but set guidelines for determining which loans it would guarantee in which neighborhoods (Middleton, 2020).

Maps were created for more than 230 American cities,  that graded neighborhoods from “A, Best” to “D, Hazardous” to visually represent the security of loans in various neighborhoods and drew red lines around Grade D neighborhoods, where it would not guarantee loans — what we now call “redlining.” (Middleton, 2020).

The guidelines were based on race and ethnicity, land use and housing age. The practice blocked access to credit in neighborhoods where people of color lived.

“In addition to starving neighborhoods of important services and access to credit, systematic segregation depressed land values, making it easy for poorly regulated polluting industries to set up shop or continue to expand in those neighborhoods. Thus poor regulation affects ones health in many ways” (Middleton, 2020).

References

Middleton, Z. (2020). How racist ‘redlining’ gave rise to cancer clusters and other environmental injustices | One Breath Partnership (onebreathhou.org)

Rodgers, S. (2016). Hazardous: The Redlining of Houston Neighborhoods | Rice Design Alliance

Stressful Eating

Do you have your list of foods you love to eat when you are stressed? They probably aren’t good for you, but they sure make you feel better. I love ice cream and chocolate covered pecans, and try to eat them in moderation.

We all know we should exercise to reduce stress but Nelson (2020) recommends six foods we should consume to decrease stress.

Eggs are not only source proteins but also offer tryptophan and vitamin B types, that work effectively in tension management. In this case, vitamin B lowers anxiety and depression symptoms while tryptophan improves your moods and sleep.

Milk contains vitamins D, which is responsible for enhancing happiness while also boosting satisfaction. Another main ingredient is lactic acid, which reduces stress by lowering blood pressure, bringing a calming effect.

Blueberries supply vitamin C; this lowers the adverse effects of stress-causing hormones. When you’re stressed, the stress hormone cortisol causes a reduction of vitamin C. Hence, your body needs a constant supply of vitamin C.

Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that are responsible for stimulating serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter located in the brain, which, when activated, lowers emotional conditions like stress, depression, and others.

Chamomile tea is ideal stress relief food is the flavonoid apigenin, a substance present in this tea that acts as a natural sedative for stress and anxiety management. This healthy food provides great pre-workout energy, helps in coping with menstrual pain, helps you sleep better, help soothe cold symptoms.

Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, a compound useful in fighting anxiety and boosting brain health. Turmeric facilitates the processing of omega 3 acids in the body, which further works as anti-anxiety, antioxidant, and ant-inflammation.

Add these food items to your diet to assist with your stress, and do not forget some physical activity. Find an exercise you enjoy. There is no substitute for physical activity.

Just keeping you informed!

Reference

Nelson, K. (2020). Stress-Reducing Healthy Foods You Should Know, Retrieved from 6 Foods to Reduce Stress – Mother Earth Products

How Long Does It Take For The Body To Decondition?

I try to exercise at least three days per week or more. I participate in various types of exercise to keep me engaged in my exercise routine, this includes walking, weights, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, or bike riding. I find if I start at the beginning of the week I will complete my weekly challenge.

I always feel that I will lose my stamina and interest if I do not maintain my exercise routine. The truth is, once you stop exercising your muscle strength, heart and lung volume, as well as your metabolism can decrease by 50% in three weeks (Rich, 2015). Rich (2015) goes on to say “use it or lose it” is a true statement. However, these changes in body functions depend on ones age, fitness level, length of the break, and the reason for the break in exercise.

Many of you have not been as active as you once were prior to the pandemic. It is spring and time to get active and get in shape. Although I was exercising at home, it did not seem quite enough or satisfying, so I started going to the park and most recently back to the gym.

I hope you are getting some exercise it is imperative we take care of ourselves, physically and mentally. Find an activity that you enjoy, so you can stay engaged and remain healthy and fit.

Just keeping you informed.

Reference

Rich, H. (2015). How fast do we fall out of shape? Retrieved from Deconditioning │How fast do you fall out of shape? (allinahealth.org)

How Is Your Mental Health?

As we move into spring and summer after a year of social unrest and a pandemic, one has to ask how much more can you take? This is the second week in April of 2021 and so much to process.

There is a trial going on for the death of George Floyd, and now another young Black man Daunte Wright was also killed by police, a high school shooting occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee, a policemen died and a video was released of an army lieutenant being disrespected and sprayed with pepper spray because he did not comply. Thank God he was not killed!

The numerous shootings around the country is concerning. Also, we can not forgot about the terror against Asian Americans related to hate and misunderstanding. On another note, a policeman is lying in state at the Capitol this morning after being killed. These are just the highlights, there are more.

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I am tearful and sad, everyday it is a new story. As a mother of two sons, I fear for my children and pray constantly for their safety and wellbeing. Many do not realize this hateful behavior has been going on for centuries. Video has finally substantiated what other communities has experienced since they have landed on these shores from various groups. Actually no one is native of this land but the American Indian and we see how they have been treated.

Mentally it is exhausting and I have had to unplug and stop watching television for my own mental health. I am confused about the continued disregard for black and brown lives in this country with no consequences. As a member of the minority community we can’t change the patterns of the majority, they will have to make the change. That will not happen until they decide that they are finally feed up. But, there is resistance within their group who are fearful that they are losing power and have nothing to add or say about the treatment of others.

Take care of yourself and your family. As we move into summer, and more events occur (and they will), reactions will get more intense and anger and hate will abound. Remember tomorrow is not promised but while you are here be a part of the solution not the problem, because we are all connected.

Types of Meditation Part II

There are different types of meditation. We will discuss a few popular types.

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There are nine popular types of meditation practice:

  • mindfulness meditation
  • spiritual meditation
  • focused meditation
  • movement meditation
  • mantra meditation
  • transcendental meditation
  • progressive relaxation
  • loving-kindness meditation
  • visualization meditation

1. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is good for people who practice alone without a guide.

In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge the thoughts or become involved with them. You simply observe and take note of any patterns. This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.

2. Spiritual meditation

Spiritual meditation is used in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Daoism, and in Christian faith. This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.

Essential oils are commonly used to heighten the spiritual experience. Popular options include

  • frankincense
  • myrrh
  • sage
  • cedar
  • sandalwood
  • palo santo

3. Focused meditation

Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention. It maybe difficult for beginners.

Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame.

4. Movement meditation

Although most people think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, this practice may include walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you.

Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.

5. Mantra meditation

Mantra meditation is prominent in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.”

It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment.

6. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is a popular type of meditation. This practice is for those who like structure. It is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner.

7. Progressive relaxation

Also known as body scan meditation, progressive relaxation is a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation. This form of meditation involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body. A great way to relieve stress and unwind.

8. Loving-kindness meditation

Loving-kindness meditation is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others. This meditation is intended to promote compassion and kindness, it may be ideal for those holding feelings of anger or resentment.

It typically involves opening the mind to receive love from others and then sending a series of well wishes to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and all living beings.

9. Visualization meditation

Visualization meditation is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes or images. Imagining yourself succeeding at specific goals, which is intended to increase focus and motivation. With this practice, use all five senses to add as much detail as possible to your image.

Hopefully you can find a meditation practice that resonates with you. These practices are helpful in reducing stress, promoting inner peace and will boost your mood.

Just keeping you informed!

Reference

Bertone, H. (2020). Which Type of Meditation Is Right for Me? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/types-of-meditation#mindfulness-meditation

Benefits of Meditation, part 1

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I have always found it difficult to meditate, but continue to try over the years. Apparently there are different types of meditation and it appears I have been mastered one type unknowingly. Who knew!

The benefits of mediation include reconnecting with your emotions, desires, and roadblocks that may be causing you stress (Thole, 2021). Thole, (2021) says meditation helps to center and ground you so you can slow down. Meditation, reduce stress, anxiety, enhances self-awareness, improves sleep, decreases blood pressure, generates kindness, helps controls pain, improves age related memory and helps fight addictions (Thole, E (2021) and Thorpe, M & Link, R. (2020).

References:

Tholes, E. (April, 2021) Whats up with Meditation? Natural Awakenings.

Thorpe, M., and Link, R. (2020) 12-Science Based Benefits of Meditation. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#1.-Reduces-stress

Benefits of Walking

I walk to reduce stress, and clear my mind. It is also a wonderful way to exercise while enjoying nature, especially during this time of limited personal interactions due to COVID 19. I still wear my mask, it keeps my face warm during chilly March days. On some occasions I run but find walking helps me to sort out issues of the day.

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Walking is a great way to reduce stress and improve your endurance. This exercise can be enhanced by using weights, or add an occasional run or sprints to increase your intensity. This will improve your muscle strength and stamina. There are also apps available to measure steps and mileage or to assist with guided mediatation.

On some occasions I listen to music but for the most part I enjoy the sounds of nature or the stillness or the day. If you walk in your neighborhood you might be surprised what you notice and appreciate. What ever you choice to do, enjoy it. Walking is great exercise for both your mind and body.

Notice how refreshed you feel when have the intention of enjoying a walk and reflecting on the day.

Reference
Jung, 2021. Walking can change your life. Prevention. com. 33

Why is Stretching Beneficial?

Stretching is so beneficial for the body. As we age we loose our flexibility if we do not actively stretch and remain mobile. When is the last time you sat on the floor, or stretched your arms over your head? Can you touch your toes? You would be surprised how stiff you have become.

The benefits of stretching include maintaining flexibility, strength and preventing injury. Stretching keeps the muscles strong and prevents them from shortening and becoming tight and weak. This will reduce potential injury and muscle strain.

Walking can warm the muscle, and is essential prior to stretching, especially if you are going to engage in vigorous exercise. Consultant your medical professional before starting a exercise regime, especially if you have not exercised lately.

Good luck, stretching and exercise are good for the body!

Reference

Harvard Health. 2021, The importance of stretching. Retrieved from http://www.health.Harvard.edu .

Do You Have a Sweet Tooth?

I love chocolate, ice cream and pastry but try to keep my intake to a minimal. Although experts have said fried food and bread can be the cause of weight gain, excess sugar is on the top of the list. The key is always moderation and exercise.

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Too much sugar affects every body system, from head to toe. Consuming too much sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot” (Hughes, 2017). That is why we say its addictive.

Sugar can also cause tooth decay, and increase inflammation in the joints, and affect other internal organs. Although it enhances the taste of food, the chronic effects of too much sugar can be devastating on the body.

Please check out the link below to get the full details of the affects of too much sugar intake on the body. You maybe surprised.

Just keeping you informed.

Reference

Hughes, L. (2017) How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body? (webmd.com)

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